BRONISLAW KAPER (1902 - 1983)
Bronislau Kaper was a musical prodigy who studied law and music in his native Poland before moving to Berlin to pursue
music. He composed for German films, but as anti-Semitism increased he moved to Paris in 1933. There he was discovered by
Louis B. Mayer who signed him to MGM.
From 1936 to 1940 he wrote songs for films: “Tomorrow Is Another Day,” “Cosi Cosa,” and
“All God’s Chillun Got Rhythm” (now considered politically incorrect) for the Marx Brothers’ A
Day at the Races (1937). By 1940 he was assigned complete scores. During a career that spanned over 30 years in
Hollywood he scored an incredible variety of films from Gaslight(1944), a suspense drama, to Them! (1954), a
horror film about giant ants, to Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956), a boxing film. With Herbert Stothart he served as
music director for the operetta, Chocolate Soldier (1941), which featured his song, “While My Lady
Sleeps” with Gus Khan’s lyrics.
In 1947 Kaper’s score for Green Dolphin Street produced a jazz classic, “On Green Dolphin
Street”. He won an Oscar for Lili (1953), which contained the song “Hi-Lili Hi-Lo,” and was
nominated in 1962 for the Mutiny on the Bounty score and its love song, “Follow Me” with Paul Francis
Webster’s lyrics. Mutiny… did win a Golden Globe for best score as did A Life of Her Own (1950).
With Webster, Kaper also wrote the haunting “Invitation” (1952), which would become an oft-recorded jazz
Milestones for Kaper in 1958 include the “Overture” for Auntie Mame and the score for The Brothers
Karamazov, where his intimate knowledge of Russian ethnic music added to the score’s authenticity. But large-scale
scores such as Lord Jim’s (1965) were losing favor, so Kaper produced his last one in 1967 for The Way
-- Sandra Burlingame
Courtesy of JazzStandards.com